This Ed-Tech Company Moved From ‘Not Yet’ to a Program Inspired by Customer Demand

In my last blog, I wrote about the explosion in podcasting in education and how my company–a leader in building student listening skills–decided we needed to do more to capture the fascination around this trend. 

We wanted to help teachers create podcasts with their students, but Listenwise didn’t have the resources to build out a new product on our content and listening skills platform. For the past six years we have helped middle and high school teachers engage students with audio stories from a curated collection of more than 1,800 audio stories. 

So when we were asked if we could help teachers make podcasts with students, we always had to say, “Not yet.”

But this year we found ways to begin to guide teachers through the podcast creation process, and give them actionable ways to podcast with their students. We created the Teacher’s Guide to Podcasting in the Classroom, presented it at ISTE and SXSWedu, and held webinars on the topic of student podcasting. 

And more recently we created the Student Podcast Podcast a show devoted to showcasing student podcasts and speaking with the teachers who made it happen. We know that there’s much to learn just by listening to how others have done it in their classrooms.

Moving From Curation to Creation

Last spring, we decided it was time to move from curation to creation. 

To get there, we partnered with Soundtrap, a division of Spotify. Soundtrap provides an online audio editing studio that enables us to offer personalized, project-based professional development for podcasting. 

This PD offering is comprised of a blend of live webinars and personalized coaching, builds a community of practice with a teacher cohort, is flexible, and provides expert guidance from podcasters.

All good podcasting starts with listening. Students must hear good mentor podcasts before creating their own and that’s where Listenwise’s collection of audio stories comes in. 

We partnered with Soundtrap, because we heard from teachers that finding the right recording and editing tools can be the biggest challenge. It’s certainly the most intimidating part of the project for many teachers (but not usually the students).

However, after presenting at conferences, we heard teachers say they loved learning about podcasting, but didn’t always remember what to do in their classrooms when it came time to try the techniques we shared. So we created online PD coaching to help them create those podcast projects with their students.

Because the PD is not a part of the Listenwise platform, we were able to develop it quickly, and we expect it to grow. 

This is getting me thinking about how we could add the functionality of creating podcasting to our platform, for a later time. But for now, the expertise, the partnerships the resources we already have are allowing us to meet a need in the market. 

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